This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

Sunday 24th May 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

God our Father, your love is at work in all that you have made. 

Son of God, in your likeness we are made new.

Holy Spirit, you touch our lives with hope.

Receive our worship, claim us for your service, set us free to honour you today as we come together, for You, with You and in You. Amen

Confession

Holy God, giver of light and grace, we have sinned against you and against our fellow men and women, through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We have belittled your love, and betrayed your trust. We are sorry, we are ashamed, we repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us all that is past and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

Jesus died and rose again for you. In humble penitence, accept his pardon and receive his peace.

Amen

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

 

Hymn: Love divine

 

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Saint John 17:1-11

1 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. 6 I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

Reflection

Thursday was Ascension Day and this Sunday we remember when the living and resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven. Knowing what was going to happen to him, Jesus prayed for us to the Father before the events of the crucifixion and resurrection. He was and is concerned about his disciples, but he also knows that, thanks to the cross and resurrection, the Holy Spirit would come to be with them and to all those who would believe in God through their word.

As Jesus glorifies the Father by giving himself up to save all those who come to him, the Father glorifies the Son by raising him from the dead. As you can see, the active and selfless love shared by the persons of the Trinity, is an example for Jesus’ disciples to follow. If we understand God’s love for us, we don’t go around upsetting people and holding a grudge, but we apply that active and selfless love to all. Sometimes it takes time to reflect, to find the right words and the courage to act. It’s hard, even very hard when we have been upset by someone. But Jesus prayed to the Father that we may be one as he and the Father are one.

What would be the last wish of God the Son before he goes to heaven? He wishes for us to be as one, and this reading is clearly stating that. So, I wonder, why are we still separate as Christians? 

Jesus tells us that unity is the essential part of our lives as followers of Christ because in unity we make visible the invisible divine communion with God and with one another. Although we are all united by baptism as the seal of the Holy Spirit, we have had so many divisions in history. As a famous theologian noted before his death, the world outside the Church does not understand our divisions, in fact they are a hindrance to the propagation of the good news of Jesus Christ. We need, therefore, to work together towards unity as Jesus wanted. Our Church is founded on ecumenical principles of unity among Christians. But ecumenical work requires collaboration and openness to dialogue, focussing on what we have together rather than what we do not have. Looking at what makes us Christians rather than picking on our differences.

The reading today tells us that Christian unity is a gift of grace from God. It happens when we let the Holy Spirit guide us in what He wants for the Church. As Christians we are always called to come together with a spirit of repentance, humility, love and prayer because then we will be able to surrender our will and let God guide us in what is needed. 

We joined our Church because we believed in the work of reunification between Christians, but this can only happen through the Holy Spirit and the daily application of love and humility by all the disciples of Christ.

Before dying on the cross, Jesus was praying to the Father for Christian unity. Are we working for him to fulfil his prayer, or are we going against his final wishes? 

One day our Lord Jesus will return as he promised us. When we pray “your kingdom come, your will be done” is that what we truly feel in our hearts? When I pray those words, I always see one Church, the whole Christian Church united in humility and love.

Amen 

       

Hymn: All people that on earth do dwell

 

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray:

Loving God, you care for all your children; you hear each and every prayer, you see each and every heart. Give peace and love to those who call upon you and receive us into your kingdom now and in the life everlasting.

Bless your Church, here and everywhere. Bless your people and inspire them with love towards you and one another.

Comfort those who are in trouble or pain. Heal the sick and speak to those who are dying now and to those who are losing loved ones now.

Bless our homes and churches, that love and joy may dwell there and keep those absent from us within the protection of your love.

Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

 

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

Sunday 17th May 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

Hidden God, we worship you. 

By ourselves we could not know you; no human wisdom can discover you, no argument can lead to you, no enterprise can reveal you; in the wealth of its knowledge the world fails to find you.

But you came to search for us in the frailty of a human life; you trusted yourself to the strong faith of a young woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the fragile faith of wavering disciples.

We praise you that in our very weakness we can know you; that stumbling blocks become stepping stones, and the foolishness of the cross the very truth that gives us life. Amen

Confession

We confess, o God, that we breathe the proud spirit of the world, the spirit which scorns the way of weakness, boasts of its cleverness, clings to knowledge as a means of power and seeks to prove its worth by belittling others. Lord have mercy.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

Hidden God, your wisdom unsettles our values and compels our love. We thank you for your forgiveness and we pray that you fill us always with the desire to search for your truth, and to surrender to your will so that we may transform the world around us.

Amen

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

 

Hymn: Be praised my Lord (in Italian)

 

New Testament Reading:

Acts of the Apostles 17:22-31

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said: “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with an inscription ‘to an unknown god’. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestors he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him – though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your poets have said ‘For we too are his offspring’.

Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead”.

Reflection

Very often, I find people telling me that they are not really “religious” as if they were trying to put a defensive barrier between me and them. I am always tempted to reply: “Oh yes, you are, but you don’t realise that”. But then, I hear the voice of the Lord keeping me in check and my response to that comment is always gentler.

Today, many people have substituted their faith in God with their faith in all things that are important to them. And they worship those things with such faith and devotion that if only I could see that faith in our churches, I would be the happiest priest in the world.

Let’s see what our society worships today: power, career, food, possessions, fashion, beauty…these are only a few. Behind all these things there is a driving force called money. We have built huge cathedrals called shopping centres to celebrate the power of money. We constantly abuse the word “love” to indicate something that we like. So, you see? The unchurched people of today are deeply religious, or superstitious if you want. 

St. Augustine wrote that we should not use the One we worship and we should not worship the things we use. But in our society, we see the opposite to St Augustine’s advice. We want God to obey us and then we go to literally worship our possessions or what we can buy with money. 

It seems that not much changed from Paul’s time to today. People’s spirituality is much the same as ever. We are searching for happiness but some search for it in the wrong places.

Paul’s approach with the Athenians is very gentle. He tries to find common ground with his audience and gives respect to their spiritual disposition. Then using that, he proclaims that there is only one true God who gives life to the world. God does not need the creation, therefore, the only reason He gives us life and all that we need is because He loves us. 

God revealed himself fully in Jesus Christ and Paul proclaims that from this moment on, God set a time for the judgement of the world through this man Jesus who He raised from the dead. 

As Christians, there is something very important that we need to learn from Paul:

Paul is not afraid to declare is faith in public. He does not go round it but he proclaims it boldly. 

Secondly, Paul is not waiting for people to come to him. He goes out in the city, like the good shepherd who goes out to find the lost sheep. Paul does not wait for the sheep to come to him, he looks for them. 

The message of Easter, the message of the resurrection of Jesus is something really important for him that has changed his life. Therefore, now Paul goes around the empire working as a tentmaker and proclaiming the gospel with a certain urgency, with passion. Jesus is right in the centre of his heart and has become the reason for living.

How did we receive the message of Easter? Are we going to wait for people to come to our churches or are we going to go out there to proclaim an event that has changed the course of history?

In all that we do, wherever we live and however we live, God will give us opportunities to use our abilities (each one of us with different abilities, of course). In today’s passage there is a clear calling to the individual Christian to become a missionary of God. But we can only do that when the Spirit of Christ is burning strong within; when Jesus’ word is the most valuable treasure in our heart. 

There is also a clear calling to those who call themselves as “non-religious”. God is calling you to replace the ephemeral treasures of your heart with the eternal God who loves you even when you don’t.

Amen 

       

Hymn: You are my life (In Italian)

 

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray:

God of love and power,

We pray for our community, our countries and all the nations of the world, that following the ways of truth and justice, they may be free from bitterness and strife, and by the power of your love, live in peace.

We pray for all who are in trouble, we ask that those who are sick may be cared for, that those who are lonely be sustained, that those who mourn be comforted, and that those who are close to death may know their risen Lord.

We give thanks for those who have died in the faith, especially those known to us, who have entered into the joy and peace of your nearer presence.

Grant that we may follow their example, and come to share with them the glory of everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit is worshipped and glorified for ever.

Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

Sunday 3rd May 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Brothers and sisters, God has called you by name. He proclaims His love for you today. So, come with your fears and hopes, come with your sadness and your regrets, come with your pain and your doubt, come with whatever faith you have. Whether the storm is around you or within, the Lord Jesus Christ holds you, you are not alone.

Let us pray:

O God, we are gathered together in spirit. Although distance keeps us apart, we are close to you and to each other as we unite to worship you.

We bring with us everything we are, all our gifts and talents, our weakness and our sorrow. We come in the hope that we shall find you here with us today. Our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God for ever. Amen

Confession

God of love and mercy, we come before you knowing that we are in need of forgiveness. We have sinned against you: in our speaking and in our silence; in our thinking and in our thoughtlessness; in our actions and in our inactions.

We have sinned against you in not loving you with our whole heart and soul and strength; in not loving our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Grant us, o Lord, your forgiveness, restore us in the image of your Son, and lead us along the way to your kingdom, to the glory of your name. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon

O God, your heart is full of mercy. May we hear and trust your words to each of us: “Your sins are forgiven”. May we forgive each other and forgive ourselves. Thanks be to God. Amen

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

 

Hymn: The Lord's my shepherd

 

Old Testament Reading:

Psalm 23

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

New Testament Reading:

Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

 

Hymn: Amazing Grace

 

Reflection

“…was blind but now I see” writes John Newton in his well-known hymn “Amazing Grace”. The author of Psalm 23 and the apostles and all the disciples of Jesus can make that claim as they are suddenly able to see a glimpse of heaven in this world.

What a beautiful image of Christian family living that we have from the verses of Acts today. We see how the disciples, strong in their belief in the gospel, devote themselves to the Christian teaching of the apostles and prayer. But also, to the breaking of bread together. This breaking of bread means that they belong to one another in a bond as strong as being family members. Their way of life was such that they lived as a community of faith. These four points are the characteristics of a community of faith: Devoted to learn the word of God; 

Prayers (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and intercession);

Breaking bread together;

Sharing all belongings for the benefit of those who need it.

When we look at what is happening here in the book of Acts, we realise that there seems to be some form of monastic community coming out of this. Certainly, monastic communities were not intended initially to be isolated from the world, but to live as an example and light for the world to see so that others may know the grace and love of God. 

But what brought these disciples to renounce the ways of the world and join within the Christian community in a type of life which has no room for personal ambition?

Faith, is the answer. Faith in a loving God who they experienced in the person of Jesus Christ. They met Him, listened to Him, watched Him dying, saw Him alive again and then ascended to heaven alive.

But David, when he writes Psalm 23, he has no personal physical contact with the Lord Jesus Christ. Still, David has reason to believe in God and to trust in Him so much that even death itself is nothing else but just another path, because David trusts in God being with him in this life and the next.

Is the Lord Jesus Christ the Shepherd of your life today? Would you surrender your heart, your judgement, your pride, your will to the One who died for you for love?

That is the first step to take if we wish to devote ourselves to a life of discipleship. It is the first step to take if we want for our churches to work and live and survive. We must keep the Shepherd as our leader. Any church that tries to walk away from the Shepherd, is destined to get lost like a wandering sheep. It is our duty as Christians, clergy and laity, to ensure that we follow the Shepherd in all our decisions, personal and collective.

But how do we apply, the way of the disciples in our lives today?

This is where we can really make a difference in our families, in our communities and wherever we go.

Devotion to learning the word of God is something that must be our personal fervent desire. You might say that you are too busy, but the Lord says “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. Therefore, do spend time with the Lord. He wants to hear from you. 

This brings us to the next element of our Christian life. Prayer. Do we pray enough? God rejoices when you pray because it shows Him that you are relying on Him and not on yourself. Pray without ceasing. Pray in everything and for everything. Before I mentioned the types of prayers that we do in worship:  Adoration, confession, thanksgiving and intercession. Practice these prayers every day. It does not matter how long or short they are. It is only important that they come from your heart.

If we apply ourselves to these two elements above, the other two will come easy in our church life. In our collective life we will be breaking bread together and give what we have to those in need of it. 

This is how we build a living, active church. Most importantly is to remember that we cannot do it with our own strength, we just need to follow the Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

       

Prayers of Intercession

Let us bring before God those who are on our hearts and minds, all those for whom prayer has been requested and any who have asked us to remember them. 

Let us pray: 

Loving God, long ago people brought their friends to Jesus or approached Him on behalf of others. So now we bring to you those who need your help.

God of compassion and love, we offer you all our suffering and pain. Give us strength to bear our weakness, bringing healing even when there is no cure, giving peace in the midst of turmoil, and giving love to fill the spaces in our lives. 

Amen

 

Hymn: How great is our God

 

Benediction:

The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Ame

 

       Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

 

Sunday 10th May 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

God of love, light a flame of love in our hearts to you, a flame of love to our families and friends, a flame of love to our neighbours, a flame of love to our enemies.

Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, light a flame of love in our hearts to all, from the lowliest thing that lives, to the Name that is highest of all. Amen

Confession

God of life, grant us your forgiveness. We have been heedless in our thoughts, cruel in our words, shameful in our actions. Forgive us Lord for every time we have been indifferent to a world made sad by disease; for every time we passed on the other side when we saw our neighbour in need; for every time we wandered from the way you taught us. God of life, grant us forgiveness. 

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

O God, your heart is full of mercy. May we hear and trust your words to each of us, when we hear you say the words: “Your sins are forgiven”. May we forgive each other and forgive ourselves. Thanks be to God. Amen

God of the new day and God of love, you created us and you have redeemed us. As you scatter the mist from the hills, banish the deeds of darkness from the sons and daughters of your light. Help us to know and believe that, as children of your love, we are free to begin again; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

 

Hymn: Before the throne of God above

 

New Testament Reading:

Acts of the Apostles 2:51-60

(St. Stephen is speaking to the Jews in Jerusalem): “You stiffed-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are for ever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become His betrayers and murderers. You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.”

When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look” he said “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died. 

Reflection

How far would you go to defend your convictions? Would you raise your hand against those who offend your beliefs, your ways of life and your culture? The Jews who stoned Stephen would say that they were obeying the Law given to them. But the Law that they claim to protect also says that you must love your neighbour. Therefore, were they obeying God? Does God need you or me to defend Him? Certainly not. God is big enough to take all the different opinions and beliefs and can hear all our thoughts and still love us. How remarkable! The problem is that, as Calvin pointed out once again, the human nature is corrupted. God forgives, humans don’t. God loves you just the way you are. Humans love you as long as you agree with them and fit within their social and cultural understanding, otherwise they de-humanise you and “eliminate” you from their circle, clan or group.

As humans we find it very difficult to listen to criticism, especially when it is about our beliefs. As Christians, we must surrender our pride and listen every day to the Holy Spirit pointing to us all our flaws and mistakes so that we can change our nature and obey the Lord. As Christians, we are all called to surrender to God’s will. This is because we believe that God knows better than us what is best for us. 

Stephen was the first martyr of the Church. He spoke to the Jews in Jerusalem as a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. He called the Jews to repentance, showing them their error. Why did he do that? Well, I am sure that he did not fancy getting stoned by the citizens of Jerusalem that day. He did it for love of them. Stephen was not trying to win an argument over philosophical questions. He was trying to open their eyes to see what he could see. He faced violence and responded with love. He was judged worthy of death and he prayed God to forgive his enemies. 

What can we learn from Stephen today? Well, we can clearly see that instead of arguing back or fighting back with his opponents, Stephen “turns the other cheek”. He does not walk away from the truth, no matter the cost. Even if it is going to cost him his own life. You can see some overtones of Psalm 23 here. Of course, this is the extreme sacrifice and I hope that most of you would not need witness to Jesus the same way as Stephen. However, the calling here is that we must abandon our personal pride and stick with the truth no matter what. It is clear that in this world, being a witness of Jesus is going to cost us. When you choose God over all other things, when God is the King of your heart then you will find that the world is going to reject you, even hate you because of your faith. But it all depends where your heart is. If the Lord is the King of your heart, then you will not need the world to find joy and freedom, because you have received the grace of God. In Him you will find all the joy and freedom that your soul will need. It is the Lord who opens our eyes. In Christ we are free. In Christ we live life to the full.

Amen 

       

Hymn: In Christ Alone

 

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray:

Almighty God, we pray for those locked in circumstances beyond their control, restrained by illness, oppressors, or poverty and seeing no end to their captivity. May they discover hope buried in deepest suffering; through Jesus Christ, who shared the weakness and despair of human life, yet gave even death a new outcome and brought resurrection from a closed tomb.

We pray for the Church, set in a world to show how people belong together. Grant that, as we feel for the rejection and isolation of others, we may meet Christ in them and bear witness to His transforming love.

We pray for the communities of the world, for people under stress and unable to deal with their difficulties. May they know how each of them is loved and valued by you.

We remember those now hidden from us but at home with you. We give thanks especially for those who have built up our trust in you, and by their faith, have drawn us into the life of Christ who died in weakness and reigns in glory.

Amen

 

Hymn: Days of Elijah

 

Benediction:

The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini